People showed up! Huzzah!
I had a really great time at the signing on Saturday, and learned that my book, when read over a microphone and amp near children browsing Harry Potter, is incredibly dirty. I didn’t even realize my potty mouth until I eventually had to read the Hugh Grant entry just to keep myself from saying the F word. And even then Hugh says “panties” and talks about masturbation. I’m like Eddie Murphy up there.
Liz didn’t seem to mind. “I can’t wait until there’s an ugly line drawing of you on these walls,” she said, pointing at the scary Margaret Atwood near my head.
I had planned on reading two passages from the book, but that seemed to take .02 seconds, so I had to keep reading. I eventually took requests. The bookseller hosting the event apparently was worried I’d stare at the audience and they’d stare at me for hours if there was a moment of dead air, so she constantly supplied me with questions. We gave away presents to the youngest (20), the farthest traveled (San Diego, even though Liz up there did get on a plane from New York that very morning and came straight from the airport), longest Squishy reader (since 1999, but one person told me that she probably had been reading longer if I had just opened the question up to the entire room), and most unique Squishy story (ended up going to stee).
Afterward we went for drinks at a little cajun restaurant nearby, where we took full advantage of happy hour. Half of the table had decent service, and the other half had the worst time one waiter could provide. Guess which side of the table had the good time?
It did feel a little like I had asked a room of my friends to show up so I could read out loud to them, but it was so nice to look up and see a room full of people I love, and some I’ve never met before. My oldest friends, my newest friends, some fans, and one crazy man who I was warned might scream crazy thoughts at any moment. Apparently he often comes into the store and freaks out during readings. Well, after I finished reading the Barbie entry, he got up and walked out. I guess he felt I was handling all the crazy ranting that day, and he wasn’t needed. I had a great time and was really appreciative of everyone who took the time to come out and support my first book reading.
So the other day I got really upset about Corey Feldman, and I think I owe some of you an apology. I got an email from someone the other day who told me she just graduated high school, and she’d been reading me since junior high. Junior. High. Some of you were learning to crawl when Corey was fighting vampires. I shouldn’t be so harsh.
I’ve come up with a solution. Anonymous Pop Culture Service, right here. You write in with your question, I’ll post it and answer it, keeping your name out of it. This is your time to find out the answer to something that’s always confused you or eluded you, but you were too nervous to ask your friends. There is no question too silly or unnecessary. I want to help you. “What’s the big deal about The Breakfast Club?” “Why should I own a copy of Thriller?” “What’s Remote Control, and why do some of you still like Colin Quinn?”
You can ask me anything, and all this week I’ll be addressing your Eighties concerns. You can even add the Nineties, if you’re that young. But if you’re that young, please don’t tell me. You see, I’m still in my twenties, and I don’t understand why I’m suddenly feeling so old. But I think some of you grew up without an older sibling, without a role model to put the right albums in your hands and direct you to the good movies. You’ve all seen Heathers, right? If not, please go do that right now. I don’t care where you are. Tell someone you’re sick, go to the video store, and spend a day learning lines like “I got paid in puke.” I always thought it was “I got peed in puke,” which I think is a better line. Anyway, this is all very important.
Okay. Here’s your first lesson. This is taken from the latest Delia’s catalog. They are called leg warmers.
NO! BAD! STAY AWAY! NO. PUT THEM DOWN. NO.
And those shoes make me want to vomit. The ones on the right. The ones on the left, they were worn by cute boys who rode bikes. They’re called “Vans.” Yes, now Vans are skater shoes and they make thousands of varieties, but at one point those were the shoes you were talking about when you talked about Vans.
But those shoes on the right, if I see you in them, I’m going to judge you harshly.
Why did we even wear leg warmers in the first place? Well, it’s a little complicated, but at one time we all wanted to be a welder by day and a stripper by night, one who ate corn on the cob like a starving child and then went ice skating with our slutty best friend. We wanted to be all sweaty and drive men crazy when we took our bras off through our shirt-sleeves. Yeah, at some point that was considered sexy. I don’t get it, either.
So when you see that J.Lo video and you’re like, “These images are cool, but they really don’t go with this song,” it’s because she’s trying to recapture the magic of Flashdance, a movie you should have seen by now. Don’t judge us by this movie. Know that for us, it was Center Stage. It was 8 Mile. It made us think we could do something we had no business doing, never trained for, and had no real drive to do. And since we couldn’t do any of it, we wore leg warmers and practiced sit-ups with Jane Fonda.
I should probably save Jane Fonda for another day. Please send in your questions. I promise to treat all of you with the utmost respect. It’s a really good thing you’re doing, reaching out for help. It only hurts the first time.
First lesson over. I leave you today with a little rant from brother journaller Slappyjack, whose outrage helped inspire our new Pop Culture Correspondence Course. So many of you wrote in with your own stories of amazement at someone not knowing who Harrison Ford or Cary Grant was that I knew it was time to do something. But Slap here, well he took it to another level.
The thing about the 80’s is…
It BELONGS TO US, with all our terrible horrible memories of Middle and High school packed in there along with all of the John Hughes movies and (Insert New Wave band here) and Pat The Sexiest Singer Under 100 pounds Benetar and Bad Primordial Pop/Glam Metal and The A-Team and everything else we hold dear as childhood memories.
I dont care if a bunch of Brit-Brit wannabes don’t know who the Coreys were, because they DO NOT DESERVE THEM!
THEY. ARE. OURS.
The Fucking Soulless Marketing Wonks at all the Goddamn Titanic Entertainment Yes-I-Am-So-A-Legal-Entity-Corporations can’t think of anything NEW to try to shove down our throats and use it to “get us to work jobs we hate to buy shit we don’t need” so they just roll 4d6, jump back that many years and start stealing the shit that was cool back then (such as: Rolling 4d6) and regurgitate it back upon us with a 65% markup because now its “retro”
THE EIGHTIES ARE OURS
Cory Feldman. Jesus Christ.
HE WAS THE KID WITH THE GLASSES IN THE MOVIE “STAND BY ME,” A MOVIE ADAPTED FROM A STEPHEN KING NOVEL!
IT ALSO STARRED KEIFER SUTHERLAND BEFORE HE GOT ALL SERIOUS AND THOUGHT HE WAS HIS GODDAMN DAD!!!
sorry, sissy. life is shitty and I had to let out at someone after your story of the dingbat girls.
mwuah! mwuah! mwuah!
Hope your book is doing gangbusters, even though they DO look nice packed by the carton. Also, my “Rantings of a Complete and Total Dickhead” is looking to get picked up, too.
PS – Luckily, they’ll never be able to steal “You Can’t Do That On Television,” ’cause it was Canadian, and was too completely amazingly rad to ever be redone.
PPS – I wish Moose was my girlfriend.
If any of that confused you, that’s what I’m here for. And you know what? I have no idea what “Rolling 4d6” is, either. But I’m guessing it’s a D&D thing (That’s “Dungeons and Dragons”. You can Google that and let someone more capable explain it to you).
And “Stand By Me” was actually adapted from a Stephen King novella (stee corrected me that it wasn’t technically a “short story.” He’s technically “nitpicky.” stee then pointed out that I’m doing the same thing to Slap. This might go on all day.) called “The Body” in a collection called Different Seasons. See? It’s going to be okay. I’m here for you. Slap’s just a little angry. That’s what happens when you forget our culture, or never bothered to learn it in the first place. We have so little culture, our generation. Please let us share it with you.
Drinking Coffee Elsewhere. I am slowly drifting away from this book.
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